Friday, September 10, 2010

Surreal. Shocking. Schiaparelli!

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On a bookshelf at the Pop Culture Institute is a bright pink book.

The bright pink book is entitled Shocking Life, and it is the memoirs of Elsa Schiaparelli, one of the foremost fashion designers of the 20th Century - indeed, of all time, since it's unlikely her kind will ever occur again, though she has spawned imitators (all of whom I'm far too discreet to name).

Inasmuch as Chanel shocked the world by dressing women unfettered by corsetry and draped suggestively in jersey, Schiaparelli would shock the world by dressing women in trompe-l'oeil bows and animal prints and hats designed to look like shoes. The products of her fertile mind still have the power to shock today.

Born on this day in 1890, Elsa Schiaparelli died in November 1973, having deeply unsettled the fashion establishment of Paris. Good for her, I say!
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